The last time I seriously played at being a photo artist was in October – since then I hadn’t even so much as turned the camera on for months and the last time I had I was creating motion and light images in cahoots with a beautiful Maple – a very different subject than flowers with very different energies at play. So, I was experiencing curiosity and anxiety the first day I headed out the door to go photograph this year wondering: “how would I see??”
Blue Lake Ranch & Tulips. I experience Tulips as combinations of happy, vibrant, bold, erotic, hot, dynamic energies – they make me smile. This tiny Tulip (Tulda) found me which is a good sign – one I accepted as a both blessing and gift. The blessing being this intriguing image (left) and the gift is being able (at 62) to lay on my belly with my face so close to the earth I could smell the rich clay mud as a blade of grass threatened to invade my nose……………and…And get up again!
My process so far this year is to carefully observe, sufficiently play with and imagine variations of background and foreground blending three impressions of the image. It was the same last year too but not at the beginning – at the end. I try to compose utilizing two or more distinct focal planes and a third which is a studied blend of color and texture. Now and then I get lucky and the heart of the subject comes to me – but then that changes – as all things do – often in a twinkling of the eye. Six months ago I was laid off. Panic and fear gripped me at first as the story line of catastrophe erupted out of ego vaults filled with worst case scenerios: “O MY GOD I will be flipping burgers at Burger King! Oh My God my mothers prophecy is coming true!! O My God we will lose the house….OMG we will have to file bankruptcy…..live on the streets…” Then I remembered that my god-concept does not punish or recognize sin and that allowed for a pause and in the gap of that pause I realized I had gotten lost inside fears and stories and worries. I had just enough on the ball to notice this and that instant of recognition was enough to drop all the “woe is me” stories and when I did I heard another voice say: “Now you can follow your heart.”
And that’s what I’ve been doing – following my heart and trying to make space in the mind so my heart can move in the direction of it’s deepest aspirations….to continue the journey towards freedom and to fabricate new stories that allow for more joy, serenity, acceptance, courage, confidence, compassion, love, wisdom, skillful means and adventure in this life! The Kingdom of Heaven is Now! Buddha could have said and Minor White did say that “one has to earn their next image.” I am trying to earn mine by teaching what I know about photography blended with direct experiences’ and Buddhist conceptualization of phenomena. Harder to say than to suggest I think. Easier to model and demonstrate than to posture and pontificate. In the field I am discovering that the less I say the more students learn.